If you have a serious matter please ask to speak to a senior solicitor/partner
Tax Investigation and Tax Fraud
Being investigated by HMRC can be highly stressful and damaging to you or your business, especially if you are suspected of deliberate wrongdoing. The financial penalties and impact on your reputation can be very serious if you are found to have committed tax fraud, so it is essential to seek specialist legal advice as soon as you are notified of a tax investigation.
Our tax fraud defence team support and represent personal and business clients during every stage of a tax investigation and any resulting prosecution. We understand how these investigations work, so can advise you on what to expect and the actions you need to take to protect yourself and/or your business and reputation.
We can guide you through every stage of a tax investigation, advising you on the evidence you need to provide and the steps you can take to avoid a prosecution wherever possible. If a prosecution cannot be avoided, we can make sure you have the strongest possible case and the best possible representation to minimise any penalties.
Working with highly experienced barristers specialising in tax fraud cases, we can make sure you have access to the expert counsel you need to secure the best available outcome for your case, no matter how challenging your situation.
To arrange a free initial consultation with a senior partner/lawyer today on how to deal with a tax investigation and allegations of tax fraud, please contact our local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.
Our expertise with tax investigations and tax fraud
JD Spicer Zeb’s tax fraud solicitors offer exceptional legal skills honed over many years combined with a supportive personal approach to help you through this challenging time.
We can provide effective representation for clients facing tax investigations and tax fraud allegations, including in relation to very high value disputes with HMRC. Our team understands what tax investigators are looking for and what you need to do to meet their requirements while best protecting you and/or your business.
Our tax fraud lawyers work with a number of defence barristers specialising in tax fraud cases, so if court proceedings cannot be avoided, we can ensure you have strong representation to help you secure the best available outcome.
We speak a variety of languages across our team and work with a number of accredited interpreters, so no matter your background, we can make sure you have clear, effective advice and representation in any language for all stages of a tax investigation and any subsequent prosecution.
What to do if you are investigated for tax fraud
The first you will know about an HMRC tax investigation is usually when they contact you in writing asking for information. You should immediately seek specialist legal advice to ensure you fully comply with the investigation and do not take any actions that risk making your position worse.
During a tax investigation, please keep in mind the following:
- You should always have legal representation when meeting with tax investigators or speaking to them over the phone.
- Any information you submit to HMRC as part of an investigation should be reviewed by your solicitor.
- You should not lie to tax investigators or attempt to destroy or conceal evidence as this can make any potential penalties much worse.
- If HMRC begin criminal proceedings against you, you have the right to free legal representation.
To arrange a free initial consultation with our tax fraud solicitors, please get in touch.
What is considered tax fraud?
There are various types of tax fraud your business could be investigated for, including:
- Tax evasion (deliberately failing to declare personal income or business revenue and/or claiming false expenses)
- Avoiding excise duty, customs or VAT on goods
- Charging VAT on a product but not passing this on to HMRC (known as Missing Trader Intra-Community Fraud (MTIC), or carousel fraud)
Will I be prosecuted for tax fraud?
Most tax investigations are resolved with a financial settlement, where you agree to pay HMRC a set amount in exchange for avoiding prosecution. However, HMRC does have the power to prosecute in cases of tax fraud. Whether they will prosecute depends on various factors, including:
- Whether you voluntary disclosed any discrepancies relating to your tax payments
- If there has been a sustained effort to cover up any wrongdoing e.g. creating fraudulent documents or depositing profits into foreign bank accounts
- The size of the unpaid tax – prosecution is generally more likely if the amounts involved exceed £50,000
The likelihood of a criminal prosecution for tax fraud can be greatly reduced by taking the right legal advice at the outset, ensuring you fully comply with any tax investigation while avoiding any mistakes that could undermine your legal position.
Penalties for tax fraud
If you are prosecuted for tax fraud potential penalties include substantial fines and even imprisonment in the most serious cases. HMRC also has the power to recover any unpaid tax and to seize assets connected to tax fraud through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The exact penalties on conviction for tax fraud will depend on the type of offence and the amount involved. The following provides an indication of the maximum available sentences for different types of tax fraud.
Income tax evasion – Up to seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
VAT evasion – Up to seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
Evasion of duty – Up to seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
Providing false documentation to HMRC – 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to £20,000.
What defence is there against tax fraud charges?
When dealing with a tax investigation or prosecution for tax fraud, there are various defence strategies we can consider for you, including:
- That no offence took place
- That any errors in the tax paid by you or your business were the result of genuine mistakes, rather than deliberate attempts to defraud HMRC
- That you fully complied with the investigation and made no further attempts to hide any wrongdoing
Our tax fraud defence solicitors can help you find the best available defence strategy, giving you the strongest chance of avoiding criminal penalties or minimising any penalties where a conviction is unavoidable.
Contact our tax fraud defence lawyers today
For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about a tax investigation or allegations of tax fraud, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
You can contact our dedicated fraud defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:
- Camden Office: 020 7624 7771
- Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
- Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
- City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)
Or email: email@example.com
Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Need urgent representation for a tax fraud investigation?
For immediate representation and advice on dealing with allegations of tax fraud anywhere in England or Wales at any time, please contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556.
For new serious cases you can email a senior partner/lawyer directly by clicking here. When you call us you can request a call back or meeting the same day with a senior partner/lawyer or Barrister.